Be in driver's seat for cars of the future

I enjoy driving as much as anybody else, but if history is any guide, it will take just one generation for cars with an internal combustion engine to go the way of the horse - banned from roads as dirty, unpredictable and unsafe, and relegated to being weekend playthings on designated tracks and arenas ("S'pore may be on the road to fewer cars" by Ms Maria Loh Mun Foong; last Thursday).

And like blacksmiths, furriers and buggy-whip manufacturers, whole sectors of auto-related industries are likely to progressively disappear - from fuel distribution networks to car repair workshops - and hopefully, morph into something that is more productive.

These changes are already occurring. Singapore is well-suited to benefit from this shift and can choose to take on the challenge, by conducting the research, planning ahead and thus, benefit from the opportunities - or stand by and watch as others take the lead.

Many people in Hong Kong do not own a car, but Hong Kong is already forging ahead in adopting the use of electric cars.

It is time for Singapore to start preparing for the future, too.

Frederick John Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2015, with the headline 'Be in driver's seat for cars of the future'. Print Edition | Subscribe